Arusha, 16 May 2008 (FH) - The American program of "Rewards for Justice" for arrest of fugitive Rwandan genocide suspects, has already helped to nab three accused currently held by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Washington announced the programme's renewal last Monday.

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They are the former Governor of Kigali, Tharcisse Renzaho, the former Mayor of Murambi (eastern Rwanda), Jean-Baptiste Gatete and Yusuf Munyakazi, a former trader from Cyangugu (south-western Rwanda), according to the website of the US State Department.

The resumption of the program, which offers a bounty up to five million dollars (approximately 2.5 billion Rwandan francs), aims to arrest the 13 fugitives still at large.

The Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, announced the resumption during a press conference Monday at the State Department, in presence of the US Ambassador at large for War Crimes, Clint Williamson.

The Rewards for Justice programme, she said, constitutes an instrument that the United States used in order to encourage the suspension of hostilities in the Great Lakes Region.

Mr Williamson added that the resumption of the program underlines US efforts aiming at bringing to justice the main authors of the 1994 genocide.

He added that the fugitives occupied positions of responsibility and influence before and during the 1994 genocide. Among them includes billionaire Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the genocide; the former Minister for Defence, Augustin Bizimana; and the former commander of the presidential guard, Major Protais Mpiranya.

According to the State Department, the majority of the fugitives are believed to be hiding in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Embassy of the United States in Kinshasa will collaborate with the UN missions and other partners in the DRC to distribute posters, matchboxes and other materials to help in the arrest of the suspects.

The ICTR, headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, has been ordered by the UN Security Council to complete all its first instance trials by the end of the year.


© Hirondelle News Agency